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When Lisa Sorgini Slept Over

Lisa Sorgini came and slept over the other week. She gave a new nice meaning to getting egg on your face. On her way back to Melbourne she stopped at Kosciuszko National Park and looked at the mountains.

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Things we are thinking about,
people we've met and what’s on in Canberra.

  • Stories
  • People
  • Daily Rituals
  • Fix and Make
  • What's On

Bye Swarm Traps

Of love and other things

The one that never eventuated

Suzi McKinnon and Jai Tongbor

Adam and Amy Coombes

Sam and Claire Johnson

The daily rituals of Matt and Lentil

New rituals for play

The daily rituals of others (part two)

The ritual of limbering up

Oyster dressing with guanciale with piquillo peppers, basil and chilli

How to make toys from trash

How to make camp furniture

Italian Film Festival

WHEN Tuesday 20 September to Wednesday 12 October
WHERE Palace Electric Cinema

A month of Saturdays with Marcia Langton

WHEN Saturday 24 September from 3PM
WHERE National Portrait Gallery

Festival of Dangerous Ideas Satellite

WHEN Saturday 3 September at 11.30AM
WHERE Civic Square in the City

Preset memory

WHEN OpensThursday 8 September at 6PM runs until Sunday 25 September

Granite and grain

WHEN Opens Thursday 8 September at 6PM runs Sunday 25 September

Myles Mac’s five hour set

WHEN Sunday 18 September
WHERE Bar Rocheford

The beginning of genius is being scared shitless. ― Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Daily Rituals, Stories, Visual Essay

Daily Rituals by Jessica Tremp

Jessica Tremp came to stay and she took some photos while she was here. We made a visual essay with them.

Jessica Tremp came to stay and she took some photos while she was here. We made a visual essay with them.

Daily Rituals

New rituals for play

Bye Swarm Traps

‘Swarm Trap’ was an exhibition curated by MANY MANY and Honey Fingers. Together, we presented it at the Nishi Gallery, here in Canberra, back in June.

The exhibition was a collection of swarm traps (safe houses for bees) made by artists, designers and makers in their mutual admiration for the clever and generous animal that is the bee.

Today, now that Spring has finally arrived, these swarm traps are heading off to be installed in city, suburb and bush sites between here and Melbourne.

We’re waving them goodbye and blessing them all in the hope that they all prove to be a comfy safe house for bees looking for a new home.

'Hello Spooky' by Madeleine Mills. Shot by Charlie White.

'Bees in Trees' by Honey Fingers and carpenter René Mancuso. Shot by Charlie White.

'Suitcase' by Ben Blakebrough. Shot by Charlie White.

'60L Drum' by Field Experiments. Shot by Charlie White.

Rock from '60L Drum' by Field Experiments. Shot by Charlie White.

'Hexagonal Flower' by Beci Orpin. Shot by Charlie White.

'Negative (Bee) Space' by MANY MANY. Shot by Charlie White.

'Swarm Catcher' by PAM Studio and Honey Fingers (fourth work from the left). Shot by Charlie White.

'A Foreign Object From an Alien World, To Tempt the Curious Bee' by Nicholas Ashby. Shot by Charlie White.

'Artificial Branch' by Soft Baroque. Shot by Charlie White.

'Beezindatrap' by SIBLING. Shot by Janelle Low

'Big Roof' by Honey Fingers and carpenter John Arvanitis. Shot by Charlie White.

'Pat' by Charlie Lawler and Wona Bae of Loose Leaf. Shot by Charlie White.

‘Hello Spooky’ by Madeleine Mills.

Clay polymer, stoneware clay, organic matter, beeswax, propolis, tissue paper, plaster, wire.

1700mm x 400mm x 400mm

Born out of a child-like playfulness through which Madeleine Mills like to engage with material, this trap is a fusion of form and duty of care. Designed as a space that is safe, satiating and alluring for the bees, the attention to detail is at once acute and, in effect, unselfconscious. The layers of material have been built upon slowly and often spontaneously – its stoicism and autonomy revealing itself through the process. The trap stares back through the canopy of both uncanny and natural substances, ornamenting and embodying a sense of composite corporeality in our own human fabric.


‘Bees in Trees’ by Honey Fingers and carpenter René Mancuso.

Salvaged oregon, leftover paint, reusable ratchet straps.

1420mm x 360mm

Built to the 5000 year-old dimensions of the (still in-use) clay, cylindrical beehives of Egypt, ‘Bees in Trees’ is a nod to the traditions of beekeeping on the African continent, where empty cylindrical hives are suspended in trees to catch swarms and left in-situ, or moved to ground level, for the beekeeper to rob during the season. This hive will have an internal divider board (much like a Kenyan top bar hive) that will create an initial volume of 40L for a swarm to inhabit, but can be moved to create a larger volume for a growing colony to occupy. It will also have removable circular frames. This hive will be moved to ground level once bees have moved in. Interestingly, the volume of this hive – developed 5000 years ago – is equal to the volume of three eight-frame Langstroth boxes used today (a typical hive set-up in spring being two brood chambers + one honey super = three boxes).


‘Suitcase’ by Ben Blakebrough.

Leather suitcase (1930) with gold lettering.

660mm x 370mm x 140mm

For the on-the-move trapper. Ben Blakebrough’s mother used to have a swarm trap just like this one! Marcel Duchamp had one too, so did Albert Camus and Alan Ginsberg – he would read poetry to the swarm before attempting capture.

’60L Drum’ by Field Experiments.

Plastic, rope, rusted-steel pulley.

Field Experiments have made an ad hoc swarm trap from everyday found objects. The bung on a 60 litre plastic fermenter drum has been removed, providing the entry point for the bees. The drum hanging height is controlled by pulley system which can be adjusted to suit any environment. This trap is a reminder that we can work with items on hand to create new objects that fulfil a specific purpose.


‘Hexagonal Flower’ by Beci Orpin.

Plywood, glue, acrylic paint, varnish, metal.

430mm x 395mm x 300mm

Beci Orpin’s swarm trap is based on the naturally occurring shape of honeycomb – hexagon. She used lots of blue and yellow paint as these are the colours bees are most attracted to in nature. Beci hopes bees will think it’s a weird flower and fly right in. The swarm trap was designed and painted by Beci and constructed by James Reynolds.


‘Negative (Bee) Space’ by MANY MANY.


760mm x 380mm x 380mm

A common DIY swarm trap is made out of pressed fibre moulded by conjoined plastic buckets. MANY MANY sought to emphasise this traditional form by casting its negative space in plaster. The two halves – a plaster tower when closed – each have a different internal texture, creating a special interior ‘for the bees’ eyes only’.


‘Swarm Catcher’ by PAM Studio and Honey Fingers.

T-shirt, dowel, steel.

2600mm x 600mm x 400mm

A catcher rather than a trap, this device is popular in Europe for catching and relocating swarms that are within – or just out of – reach. The swarm can be closed inside the material funnel, and then gently shaken into a hive through the bottom of the funnel.


‘A Foreign Object From an Alien World, To Tempt the Curious Bee’ by Nicholas Ashby.

Aluminium, plastic, steel.

410mm x 330mm x 310mm

It’s not just that this perfectly refined design by the Swiss artist and designer Andreas Christen (1936-2006) is produced and finished to such beautiful exacting standards – the adoption of this classic by seemingly the entire Swiss population represents an acknowledgement that the question of how to receive mail is answered. Similarly, Nicholas Ashby believes our animal brothers and sisters are capable of a taste and appreciation for refined and utopian human-built technology. And that the question of artificially housing our bees should not be overthought with a muddle of archaic research from our own history.

Bees would be eager to move from the craft-driven nostalgic timber we usually build for them to a clean and reduced modern future. A system driven by rational standardisation and the total absence of individuality. An efficient and ever-expandable program for mass housing, leaving one free to create and dream beyond the immediate distraction of home and one’s heritage.

Humans and animals live together in the one kingdom – we need to share our riches.


‘Artificial Branch’ by Soft Baroque.


350mm x 300mm x 250mm

Bees naturally swarm to a hollow tree branch to create a new hive. This ceramic replica of a dead limb creates a reusable vessel that the bees will recognise instinctively as a new home.


‘Beezindatrap’ by SIBLING.

Hand-cast and dyed resin, mirror acrylic, plywood substrate.

350mm x 350mm x 350mm

Through their research, SIBLING became most interested in two things: that, in the wild, bees are most attracted to blue and purple followers; and that bees communicate to one another about their environment through dance. This led them to create a trap with a mirrored surface, with purple attractors. As the swarm trap hung outside the window of their fourth floor Melbourne CBD office, they watched as the box reflected both its environment and the bees themselves as they approached and danced across and around the surface.


‘Big Roof’ by Honey Fingers and carpenter John Arvanitis.

Salvaged timber floorboards, hardwood offcuts, reclaimed brass hinges.

1120mm x 340mm x 320mm

Constructed from the original bathroom floorboards salvaged from works on architect Robin Boyd’s ‘Lawrence House’ (1966-68) in Kew, Melbourne – and installed on that building’s garden wall for two years – ‘Big Roof’ is a play on taking the inside out and is a stab at creating a haughty, small-scale architectural monument, for bees. The trap itself is a box built to Prof. Thomas D. Seeley’s specifications with a big, hinged roof (the bees cannot access the roof’s void). It has caught one swarm that now lives in Carlton.


‘Pat’ by Charlie Lawler and Wona Bae of Loose Leaf.

Cork branches, steel wire, coconut husk.

500mm x 450mm

Charlie and Wona use natural materials to create both permanent and temporary artworks. Their swarm trap is inspired by the German ‘Sun Hive’ design. The suspended structure is created using tatami weaving techniques with cork branches. The hive is created in two sections and is designed to hang from a tree. The upper level contains a large chamber for the colony to gather in. At the base of the chamber is a round opening for bees to enter and exit. The lower level of the hive partially plugs the opening, giving the hive more protection, and provides a comfortable landing strip for the bees to enter the hive from any direction.

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Of love and other things

John Forrester Clack and his son Tobias Oliver Clack will be exhibiting ‘Marking the Spirit’ from Friday 19 August at 6PM at the Nishi Gallery until Sunday 11 September.

A few weeks ago, we went to visit John Forrester Clack at his home and studio in Gundaroo. We talked for a long time. Of his work, of love, and others things.

John’s work is self-exploratory. He draws, paints and sculpts, mainly self-portraits. Heads that draw on different emotions. In many ways it seems that John’s art is a way for him to reconcile himself within himself. “My pictures aren’t pretty pictures. They are about being deeply human as well as being deeply connected emotionally and spiritually”.

“What I’m doing as an artist is shedding skins. This is what I am today. You get it out and then you can leave that part on the floor.”

We talked in his studio, fitted with big windows for their generous natural light. John made the studio with his landlord whom he likes a lot. The door is pretty much always open to let the paint fumes out. The walls are covered in layers and layers of paint splatters, offcuts of wood lean up against the walls; tools and brushes hang from the ceiling.

“It’s grubby and oily and it stinks in here. But I feel free here.” John says.

He tells us the story of Francis Bacon and how he lived in a grotty bedsit studio in Reece Mews in London for years, painting away. And then he started selling his work for millions of pounds and so he took his bundle of cash and moved to a beautiful studio. But he found that he couldn’t paint in this nice new space… So he had to move back to the hovel.

The right space is important, John says. It helps you feel free to work things out.

“Part of making art is producing shit. You either have to change it, destroy it or start again. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel defeated.

You can work away for hours and not get anywhere, and then suddenly you experience this thing… This grace.

And then it works. I’m really grateful when it does. I think ‘that’s amazing, I can’t believe it’s there’.”

John grew up far away from his studio in Gundaroo, amongst the slag heaps of a mining valley in Wales. It sounds like it was a difficult place to grow up.

“For all the scars that childhood leaves us, it has given me a powerful engine, insight, a way to see things spiritually and emotionally.”

“My work is about embedded memory and emotion. And love. We share love. Love is really it. Art gave me a place to put it.”

It’s very fitting, given the nature of John’s work, this exploration of memory and love, that he will be exhibiting alongside his son Tobias.

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The one that never eventuated

Craig Tan shot by Lee Grant

Naomi Ota shot by Lee Grant

There was once the idea for a restaurant at NewActon that never eventuated. But the story is such a nice one that I’m still going to tell it.

What was nice about it? A) It was being designed by Craig Tan who is a really special architect. B) Craig had enlisted textile artist Naomi Ota to co-create the space.

Craig’s idea for the restaurant was to create a sequence of small spaces and experiences that have different qualities so that people can find the one that suits them best. He wanted to give each space richness and depth without being too prescriptive. What he was looking for was a materiality that would give a different acoustic, tactile or visual sense so as to give a different feel to each space.

This is where the idea of using ropes came in. They offer all these things as well as the possibility of playing with light and shadows and really giving each space its own sensibility. And enter Naomi Ota.

Naomi is an installation artist who uses fabrics and fibrous materials to make a range of works from small detailed pieces to large spatially interactive designs.

Unusually, for a textile artist, Naomi is interested in interaction and negative space. She is all about interdisciplinary collaboration working on performance projects with the likes of dancer Tony Yap and musicians Tim Humphrey and Madeline Flynn. She judges her recent works on their capacity to invite other elements such as movement and sound into them. It’s a pretty perfect conceptualisation for a restaurant. It is this thinking that landed her the would be gig. Her technical knowledge of fibre and knots and her beautiful, organic aesthetic also doesn’t hurt.

To really get the sentiment behind Naomi’s works, I think you need to know about the Japanese concepts of “hare” and “ke”. The hare experience (or hare day) is a special day for rituals where everyone is free to celebrate and join in – it’s the extraordinary. Ke is an everyday day, the mundane, where you haul yourself around and things don’t work out. Naomi’s works strive for the hare. She loves the moment in her performance installation work when “something happens” the elements and the audience interact and create a special moment that is different every time.

Amazingly, though they come from different disciplines, cultures and experiences, Naomi and Craig’s take on how to make a space a place for introspection and experience was very similar. Really, they were looking to turn ke into hare – striving to make the extraordinary within an ordinary setting.

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The Backroads to Canberra

Geography is just physics slowed down, with a couple of trees stuck in it.
— Terry Pratchett

Images by Axel Moline of 'Love Want'.

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150630 Cauliflower dish

Cauliflower with hazelnut, burnt butter, reggiano and truffle

Serves 6


  • Dehydrated cauliflower

    2 large cauliflower florets
    Vegetable oil for deep frying

    Cauliflower and truffle puree

    4 diced shallot
    2 sliced garlic cloves
    4 thyme sprigs
    2 bay leaves
    2 litres of milk
    10 grams black truffle
    Salt and pepper

    Parmesan custard

    150 grams Parmeggiano Reggiano
    250 ml water
    250 ml milk
    4 egg yolks

    Powdered burnt butter

    1 cup salted butter
    Tapioca Maltodextrin

    To finish and serve

    ½ cup roasted hazelnuts
    Fresh black truffle
    250 gram cauliflower florets
    Clarified butter
    Salt and pepper


Dehydrated cauliflower

Steam the cauliflower florets for 8 minutes then refresh in iced water. When completely chilled, slice the florets lengthways 1mm thick with a Japanese mandolin, lay the cauliflower slivers on dehydrator trays and dehydrate for 6 hours at 55°c.

If you don’t have a dehydrator – lay the cauliflower slivers on a tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven on it’s lowest setting until crisp. Heat the vegetable oil to 170°c and fry the dried cauliflower slivers a few at a time until puffed and golden. Season with sea salt and set aside.

Cauliflower and truffle puree

Sauté the garlic, shallot, bay leaf and thyme in the butter over medium to low heat until soft. Add the cauliflower and pour over enough milk to cover the cauliflower.

Season and reduce heat to low and simmer until cauliflower is soft, about 20 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and discard the thyme and bay leaves, blitz using a thermomix or a stick blender adding a little of the cooking liquid as you go to achieve a smooth consistency.

When you’ve reached the desired consistency, add the fresh truffle and continue to blitz until completely incorporated.

Check seasoning and set aside.

Parmesan custard

Combine the milk, parmesan and water in a thermomix and mix on speed 4 temperature 60 for 10 minutes. Blend for a few minutes on maximum speed until completely incorporated. Add the egg yolks and continue to blend on high speed and increase the temperature to 80°c. Continue to blend for 5 minutes. At this stage the parmesan custard will have appeared to split and curdled, never fear. Refrigerate the parmesan custard until completely chilled and then return to the thermomix and blend on high until the custard is velvety and smooth.

Place in a piping bag and set aside.

Burnt butter powder

Burn the butter by placing in a small saucepan over high heat until the butter starts to caramelise. Strain the burnt butter and set aside to cool. When completely cool, start incorporating the maltodextrin to absorb the oil. Keep adding maltodextrin, whisking constantly until the powder is light and fluffy.

To finish

Sauté the remaining 250 gram of cauliflower florets in clarified butter over medium to low heat, stirring occasionally. Season as you go and when the cauliflower is soft and caramelised. Place a spoonful of cauliflower puree in the centre of a bowl, scatter the caramelised cauliflower over the puree, arrange a few slices of fried cauliflower on top and a few roasted hazelnuts. Pipe a few large dollops of parmesan custard around the cauliflower pieces, sprinkle over the burnt butter snow and finish with a few chervil sprigs and the freshly shaved black truffle.

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Perfect Imperfect exhibition. Photographed by Sharyn Cairns.

Actually… It was perfect.

It’s funny that an exhibition celebrating imperfection was in fact rather perfect. Let’s blame the eyes of Karen McCartney, Sharyn Cairns and Glen Probstel for that.

We partnered with them to make the exhibition ‘Perfect Imperfect’ which ran from the 28th April to the 8th May in the Nishi Gallery. Conceptually, the exhibition was conceived to spring from the pages of a new book by the same name by the above mentioned trio. The physical experience of exhibition was like being lost inside the book’s pages – inside a world of mutability, of decay, of irregularity, of accident, of chance – in the most wondrous way.

Perfect Imperfect exhibition. Photographed by Sharyn Cairns.

There were more than 50 objects collected from 26 artists from all over the world. The elusive Alison Coates hung a central, folded, kelp-like work accompanied by sculptures of bone, wood and rock. Jacqui Fink showed several works from her series of extreme knitting experiments. The most impressive was the oversized wall hanging made from the fleece of a 700 strong flock of sheep. The wool was naturally coloured, cut into wide sheets, felted and arm stitched (yes arm stitched) to form a yarn, and then knitted one very large stitch at a time.

Perfect Imperfect exhibition. Photographed by Sharyn Cairns.

James Shaw and Marjan Van Aubel ‘Well Proven Chair’ celebrated the role of accident; its unusual texture the result of wood shavings from the factory floor combining with a bio resin overnight.

The gallery space was filled with a collection of wonky, crackly, broken, warped, uneven table objects from artists including Simon Hasan, Sofie Lachaert and Luc d’Hanis, Harriet Goodall, Nectar Efkarpidis, Alana Wilson and Julian Watts.

Perfect Imperfect exhibition. Photographed by Sharyn Cairns.

Perfect Imperfect exhibition. Photographed by Sharyn Cairns.

The show was stitched together by a collection of large format photographs by Sharyn Cairns of interiors, objects and old and new buildings expressing the perfect imperfect ideal.

So many curious people came along. After the opening, we got to know each other over dinner at Monster kitchen and bar. Like I said. Perfect.



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PB Celestino

Disturbance, expanse and reverberation

An excerpt from the essay ‘Disturbance, expanse and reverberation’ written by Dan Rule, published in the book ‘Surface Phenomena’ (Perimeter Editions, 2016) by Bartolomeo Celestino.

Melbourne’s Perimeter Books is holding a one-day art book shop in our Hotel Hotel library on Saturday 16 July from 10AM to 5PM. Warwick will be there for a chat and to sign this new book.

Bartolomeo Celestino has been returning to a particular section of Sydney’s coastal fringe – atop an otherwise unremarkable set of cliffs in the eastern suburb of Bronte – day after day, year after year, to undertake the protracted task of setting up his 8×10 large-format camera and training his lens downward to the fierce waters below.

There is little in the way of compositional logic or cues that inform the resulting photographs; the Canberra-born, Sydney-based photographer simply directs his camera down toward the impact zone and opens the shutter. The horizon, the land or any other contextual details are absent; the ocean is everything and everywhere. But while the tumultuous, violent body of water that pervades these images has become a site of fascination and a subject of visual research for Celestino, it is his almost religious sense of process and relentlessness of endeavour – his incessant want to return, reset and repeat – that defines and underpins his wider project. These images are photographs of a thrashing ocean, but oceanic or coastal photography they most certainly are not.

These works defy their lurking tropes and resist their constituent factors. The mass of turbulence and white water and the deft flashes of calm that these photographs describe occupy a fundamentally different formal and conceptual space to the iconography of the Australian coast. On the one level, we might turn to the mercurial levels of texture and detail that flood Celestino’s visual language. But on another, his mode of practice might just as proficiently be read through the late Modernist prism of seriality (or perhaps even the monomaniacal). We can only begin to approach an understanding of the nature of our chosen subject through a process of assiduous repetition…

Without the luxury of context – without foreground and horizon – Celestino’s images become loaded with formal, allegorical and interpretive potential. These colour fields might read as undulating lunar surfaces or glaciers lurching and cracking amidst the throes of an increasingly extreme seasonal melt. Another appraisal rises from Celestino’s particular photographic vantage in itself. That our gaze is perpetually pointed downward begins to invoke ideas brought to light by contemporary artists like Mishka Henner and Hito Steyerl, whose exploration of the new visual paradigm afforded by satellite imagery services like Google Earth has prefaced a new – and particularly harrowing – way of observing the world. As suggested in Steyerl’s now famed essay ‘In Free Fall’ and Henner’s meticulously stitched-together Google Earth images, this new perspective is one of someone falling downward. The horrors and turmoil of the Anthropocene rise into view as we hurtle towards the ground. Perched atop the Bronte cliffs, Celestino also positions us at the precipice of this new visuality.

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View All: Bookshelf

Echoes in memory, object and earth

An excerpt from the essay ‘Echoes in memory, object and earth’ by Dan Rule, published in the book ‘Belanglo’ (Perimeter Editions, 2015) by Warwick Baker.

Melbourne’s Perimeter Books is holding a one-day art book shop in our Hotel Hotel library on Saturday 16 July from 10AM to 5PM. Warwick will be there for a chat and to sign this new book.

The Belanglo State Forest spans some 3800 hectares of undulating land amidst the Southern Highlands of New South Wales in south-eastern Australia. Set three kilometres to the west of the Hume Highway, around 90 minutes south of Sydney by car, the forest comprises vast plantations of radiata pines ringed by stretches of dense native bushland, rocky cliffs and valleys. It is a popular site for various recreational endeavours, and people from the nearby towns of Berrima, Moss Vale, Bowral and Mittagong use the forest for camping, hiking, trail bike riding and four-wheel driving…

The ground is uneven and rough underfoot. Dried leaves and twigs crackle with every step. A large branch lies slumped amidst knots of shrubs and stooped foliage. We make it to a small clearing that leads to one of the sites. A recently discarded Coke can has been left lying in the dust, uncrushed and perfectly formed. There is evidence of a campfire nearby – a crude arrangement of rocks and scattered fragments of charcoal half-buried in the dirt…

Writing on the ‘horror stretch’ – a notorious length of the Bruce Highway in the Central Queensland hinterland – in his book Seven Versions of an Australian Badland, Ross Gibson forwards the notion of landscape as “an ever-assembling mosaic of cultural artefacts, relics and stories that people have left on and in the ground”. To Gibson, the badland functions as an accumulation of geographical, historical, psychological and mythological constituents.

It is generative and self-fulfilling in its modes and mannerisms – “a paradoxically real and fantastic location where malevolence is simply there partly because it has long been imagined there”. The badland’s burden is an internal one. It disturbs us into identifying the histories that “we wish we could deny, ignore or forget”.

The Belanglo State Forest gained international notoriety as a result of the so-called ‘backpacker murders’ in the 1990s, considered one of Australia’s worst serial killings. In 1996, Ivan Milat, who lived in the outer southern Sydney suburb of Eagle Vale and whose family owned property near Belanglo, was convicted of the murders of seven young travellers, many of whom had been hitchhiking from Liverpool in Sydney’s western suburbs. He was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences. The partially buried remains of Milat’s victims – who were of German, British and Australian descent – were discovered in heavy bushland within the Belanglo State Forest between 1992 and 1993. The horrific details of the case have been widely publicised throughout the Australian and international news media, and the Belanglo name has, for many, become irrevocably tied to notions of violence and trauma.

Boulders begin to interrupt the sandy earth as we walk deeper. The distant rumble of logging trucks can be heard. There are tyre tracks that come to a halt at the foot of a banksia, a short walk from the fire trail. A casing for a boxcutter blade lies nearby. The landscape becomes abstract, as if a throng of disparate signals. It is oddly, inexplicably tense.

Warwick Baker’s photographs from in and around the Belanglo State Forest point towards our cultural and discursive deficiencies in dealing with the psychological, historical and emotional burden that such a space invokes. More than four years in the making, the project is a photographic meditation on sites of trauma and the psychological and historical resonances of landscape and place, whether imbedded, incurred, implied or imagined.

Baker’s use of aerial photographs, hand-held medium format images, large-format landscapes and still-life photographs imparts this body of work with a forensic, evidentiary and speculative tenor, making use of both traditional documentary techniques and a more lateral and experimental approach befitting the expanded conventions of the ‘new documentary’ movement. His work should also be considered for its engagement, reflection and rethinking of elements of the Australian Gothic, in both the genre’s historical and pop-cultural articulations…

But like much of Baker’s oeuvre – including his portraits, for which he has garnered significant acclaim – these images possess an extraordinary lightness of touch and sensitivity in their thematic wrangling. His perspective and approach to his subject sidles and subtly eschews a conventional photographic vantage and bearing. Recognisable iconography is of little interest, and his defiantly understated photographs elicit the double take. These are familiar images, made ever so faintly strange.

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This week

What's on in Canberra in September

Monthly Calendar

Art, Eat Drink, Film, Fix and Make, Live, Market, Music, Party, Talk, Walkabout, Workshop

The Best of What’s On in Canberra in September


WO like-crazy

Italian Film Festival

Crime dramas, comedies, biopics, leading Italian actresses and of course love stories. The Italian Film Festival is on.

WHENTuesday 20 September to Wednesday 12 October
WHEREPalace Electric Cinema


Marcia Langton_2009

A month of Saturdays with Marcia Langton

The fourth in the ‘A Month of Saturdays’ conversation series. Karen Middleton sits down to talk about the big issues with Indigenous leader Marcia Langton.

WHENSaturday 24 September from 3PM
WHERENational Portrait Gallery


WO Bin

Festival of Dangerous Ideas Satellite

If you can't get to Sydney this weekend for the very excellent Festival of Dangerous Ideas, the Canberra Theatre Centre is streaming two of the conversations live at Civic Square.

WHENSaturday 3 September at 11.30AM
WHERECivic Square in the City


WO blaide+lallemand,ainslie+home,+2011,+canson+rag+photographic+print

Preset memory

A group exhibition by local photographers Lee Grant, Ellis Hutch, Blaide Lallemand, Mark Van Veen, Brenton McGeachie.

WHENOpensThursday 8 September at 6PM runs until Sunday 25 September


WO Namadgi+4

Granite and grain

An exhibition by Jane Duong and Chris Holly of hand printed argentotypes made over two years at Namadgi.

WHENOpens Thursday 8 September at 6PM runs Sunday 25 September


WO rocheford

Myles Mac’s five hour set

Soul Crane and Friends is back with curator of the Melbourne Deepcast and resident at Boney's Lost Weekend, Myles Mac. He'll be sweating it out with a five hour set with Not Quite Disco and Cressy.

WHENSunday 18 September
WHEREBar Rocheford
COST$5 entry


WO rebelyell-1

Rebel Yell, California Girls, Alpha Male and Playful Sound

Say goodbye to old man winter with a little boogie on the dance floor with some electro pop from Rebel Yell, California Girls, Alpha Male and Playful Sound. This is going to be good, good, good.

WHENSaturday 3 September 8PM to 2AM
WHERETransit bar


WO Foreign Kings

Foreign Kings

Local band, Foreign Kings, are playing at Transit alongside the Central Coat's IVY and local Sorrel Nation. If you like a little big of a head bang you'll like the Kings. 

WHENFriday 2 September at 8PM
WHERETransit bar

Eat Drink Music


Strings in the Salon

The Canberra Symphony Orchestra are coming back to play us some more beautiful music in the Monster Salon and Dining rooms. There are two ticket types - one with lunch and simple entry.

WHENSunday 18 September from 1PM to 3PM
WHEREMonster kitchen and bar Salon and Dining rooms
COSTTwo course lunch (main and dessert) and entry $65 / simple entry $15


WO Holy Balm

Holy Balm: activity album launch

Holy Balm is highly recommended for those who find their Sunday a little dry. The ‘mutant house’ trio will be launching their new album ‘Activity’. Be warned shoulder shimmying is a common side effect

WHENSunday 25 September at 8PM
WHERELobrow Gallery and Bar


WO mikeparrblog4

The Minotaur and the Mirror

A talk with Professor Edward Scheer about presence, performance and representation in Mike Parr's works.

WHENSaturday 17 September at 2PM
WHERENational Gallery of Australia, James O Fairfax Theatre
COSTFree but you need to book


WO Parr candle

Ritual and Extreme Actions: Performance Art and its Context

A discussion about performance art in Australia and internationally with a focus on ritual practice and extreme body actions.

WHENSaturday 24 September at 2PM
WHERENational Gallery of Australia, James O Fairfax Theatre
COSTFree but you need to book



Nervous: Installation

A collaborative installation with Heather B Swann - 'Nervous'.

WHENThursday 18 August to Sunday 20 November
WHERENational Gallery of Australia, Gallery One

Art Live


Nervous: Performance

This looks fricking amazing. Heather B. Swann's 'Nervous' is a collaborative live performance and art installation. Spinning out of the theme of intense and extreme emotional states of being.

WHENSaturday 3 September at 7.30PM and Sunday 4 September at 2.00PM 
WHERENational Gallery of Australia, Gandel Hall
COST$45 adults, $40 members/concessions

Eat Drink Walkabout

WO Black mountain - moon

Moon Festival

Eat moon cakes and worship the moon.

WHENSaturday 10 September from 2PM to 8PM
WHERELennox Gardens
COSTGold coin


End of Nature Mike PArr

Mike Parr: Foreign Looking

This is the first exhibition to bring together works by Mike Parr in all media across his experimental practice from 1970 to the present.

WHENFriday 12 August to Sunday 6 November
WHERENational Gallery of Australia



Marking the Spirit

The two bodies of work by artists John Forrester Clack and Tobias Oliver Clack in this exhibition are expressions of the process of seeking out the self and of the human physical and spiritual existen

WHENFriday 19 August to Sunday 11 September, opens launch Friday 19th August at 6PM
WHERENishi Gallery


WO Sonoma-Bakery-by-Blainey-North-Yellowtrace-07

Lecture 2: Blainey North and Tim Browne

The first in the contemporary architects speaker series put on by the ACT Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects and the National Gallery of Australia... With Blainey North and Tim Browne.

WHENWednesday 14 September at 6PM
WHEREJames O Fairfax Theatre, NGA
COSTSeries of single tickets available



Lecture 1: James Russell Architects

The first in the contemporary architects speaker series put on by the ACT Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects and the National Gallery of Australia... With James Russell Architects.

WHENWednesday 7 September at 6PM
WHEREJames O Fairfax Theatre, NGA
COSTSeries of single tickets available.


Tough and Tender

Tough and Tender

Art by a group of American and Australian artists from the 1960s to now explore the complexities of personal relations and individual expression – their work is intimate and raw.

WHENFriday 15 July to Sunday 16 October
WHERENational Portrait Gallery


arbus twins

Diane Arbus – American portraits

The photographs of Diane Arbus (1923–1971) are powerful allegories of postwar America. Once seen they are rarely forgotten.

WHENUntil Sunday 30 October
WHERENational Gallery of Australia


WO Mocan exhibition

Objects of Virtue

Maker and collector Greybox Design and forager and florist Field & Coppice have put together a little show at Močan and Green Grout.

WHENMonday 15 August to Sunday 11 September
WHEREMočan and Green Grout


WO Kochel

No Feeling Whatsoever

Jay Kochel utilises 3D scanning, machine code and mechanised drawing to explore the aesthetics of meaning and mark making.

WHENUntil Saturday 17 September



Alliance Française French Film Festival

Celebrating five iconic French actresses from films made between 1952 to 1975: Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Seberg, Simone Signoret and Romy Schneideider.

WHENFriday 2 to Sunday 4 September
WHEREPalace Electric Cinema



FINK exhibition

An exhibition made by friends in loving memory of Robert Foster - local iconic designer and silversmith, artist, and visionary.

WHENUntil Saturday 3 September


WO Inca-Llama-1060

A History of the World in 100 Objects

Based on the acclaimed BBC radio series by former British Museum director Neil MacGregor - a history of the world and shared humanity told through objects from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe.

WHENFrom Friday 9 September until Sunday 29 January
WHERENational Museum of Australia
COST$20 adult / $15 concession / $8 child / $45 family


WO Hey Hey

Hey Hey Tour

The Canberra Musicians Club and Skandy Gramatic present 'The Hey Hey it's Saturday' tour with Latham's Grip, The Treehouse Children, Azim Zain and His Lovely Bones, and Duck Duck Ghost.

WHENSaturday 3 September from 8PM
WHEREPolish White Eagle Club
COST$15/$10/$8 online


WO campcope

Camp Cope + Cayetana

Indie pop punk bands Camp Cope (MELBS) and Cayetana (USA) are playing a sideshow. Practice your high kicks.

WHENWednesday 14 September from 8PM
WHERETransit bar
COST$25 online


WO Lulu Raes

Lulu Raes – EP launch ‘All Our Parents Are Divorced’

Pop rock outfit the Lulu Raes are launching their new EP 'All Our Parents Are Divorced'. Come for a shimmy.

WHENSaturday 10 September from 8PM
WHERETransit bar
COST$15 online


WO L Fresh

L-Fresh + Omar Musa + Sukhjit

L-Fresh THE LION is coming to make you put your hands up and get sweaty. With our much loved Omar Musa (rapper, poet, author) and Melb's Sukhjit (spoken word artist).

WHENFriday 9 September from 8PM
WHERETransit bar
COST$15 online

Art Walkabout


Within Without

A major Skyspace by American artist James Turrell. It's a beauty - a pyramid, a stupa, a viewing chamber, an offering to and from the sun gods.

WHENEvery day at sunset and sunrise
WHERENational Gallery of Australia


Sam Jinks


Technologically-precise sculpture depicts an artist. Speculative painting depicts a philosopher. Together, in this focus display, they explore physical and psychological manifestations of self-hood.

WHENFriday 19 August until Sunday 27 November
WHERENational Portrait Gallery of Australia


CMAG art Collection Canberra

Michael Taylor: A Survey 1963-2016

The first major survey of expressionist painter Michael Taylor’s works - paintings and drawings from six decades, sourced from major public and private collections throughout Australia.

WHENSaturday 9 July to Sunday 2 October



Jay Kochel avarice : auspice

Large, gold and inflatable, this ambitious project by Canberra artist, Jay Kochel, continues his exploration of the Japanese concept of ‘reading air’.

WHENUntil 18 September


life drawing

Long Pose Life Drawing

Nish Art Collective drawing sessions with local artist Meg Morton. These are unguided sessions with longer poses (than the original sessions).

WHENThe first and third Tuesday of the month from 6PM to 8PM
WHERELevel eight of the Nishi building - meet at the bottom of the Grand stair at 5.50PM




BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! Poetry slam every third Wednesday of the month. Sign-up 7:30pm, SLAM from 8PM.

WHENEvery third Wednesday of the month. Sign up from 7.30PM.
WHEREThe Phoenix



Yoga with a view

Yoga with a view. Classes are free for Hotel Hotel guests. Just ask for a code at reception and book online.

WHENMonday 6.15PM to 7.30PM. Tuesday 12PM to 1PM. Wednesday 6.45AM to 7.45AM. Thursday 6.15PM to 7.30PM. Saturday 8AM to 9.15AM.
WHERELevel 8, NewActon Nishi  2 Phillip Law Street, Canberra.
COST$18 / free for Hotel Hotel guests (just ask reception for a booking code).


Bicycle Market

Bicycle Market

Goodspeed bikes are all geared up for their monthly market. Second hand, spare, rare, collectable and vintage parts for sale.

WHENFirst Sunday of the Month
WHEREKendall Lane New Acton



Life Drawing

Nishi Art Collective life drawing classes with local artist Meg Morton. Materials and models included.

WHENSecond and last Tuesday of the month at 6PM to 8PM
WHERELevel eight of the Nishi building - meet at the bottom of the Grand stair at 5.50PM
View All: What's On
160520_Sibling Swarm Trap CR Janelle Low

Swarm trap made by Sibling shot by Janelle Low

Swarm Trap

‘Swarm Trap’ is an exhibition of conceptual and functional architectural objects made for one of the planet’s more important species – bees.

Curated by MANY MANY and Honey Fingers, it opens at the Nishi Gallery in Canberra on Thursday 30 June at 6PM in collaboration with Hotel Hotel.

Swarming is the natural reproductive process of the European honey bee (Apis mollifier) super-organism.

The goal of a swarm of bees is to establish a new colony in a new home. The queen bee leaves the hive with about half of the worker bees, her daughters, swarming around her. Meanwhile, in the hive they left behind, a newly hatched queen is born and the cycle of life continues.

The goal of a swarm trap is to catch swarms before the bees set up shop in an inappropriate place and the pest exterminator is called in. Catching a swarm encourages sustainable, backyard beekeeping – the more bees under loving management in backyards the better these precious pollinators will be positioned to handle the looking threat of the varroa mite (Varroa destructor) and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Australia is currently varroa and CCD free. Here, we are experiencing a golden age of beekeeping. The 12 objects exhibited are tributes to this good fortune, to honey bees and to sustainable, small-scale beekeeping.

After the exhibition the swarm traps will be installed in the city, suburbs and bush between Canberra and Melbourne in the Spring of 2016.

‘Swarm Trap’ includes works by

Beci Orpin
Ben Blakebrough
Field Experiments
Honey Fingers
Loose Leaf
Madeleine Mills
Nicholas Ashby
Pam Studio x Honey Fingers
Soft Baroque

We’ll see you there.

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